by Oscar Beauchamp
In World War II, twelve-year-old Tom is evacuated to London, the magic capital of England. After moving into a house that will supposedly keep him safe from the threats of the war, he struggles with being separated from his friends and family. That is, until he befriends Oliver, a young wizard who also struggles with the war.
However, things take a turn for the strange when Tom gains the ability to turn weightless. He grows afraid that he might one day drift off endlessly into the sky. Oliver promises to find a way to get Tom back to normal. But tragedy strikes, and Oliver is found murdered. Heartbroken and determined, Tom feels compelled solve the murder.
About the Author
Oscar is twenty-three-years old, born and raised in London. His parents got divorced when he was nine, but that was also the year he lost his favourite Pokémon card so by comparison, the divorce was pretty small potatoes. From an early age, Oscar’s love of stories became apparent to anyone who came within shouting distance. His primary school teachers would even call on Oscar to stand in front of the class and improvise stories involving everyone in his class.
However, Oscar was diagnosed with dyslexia, and sentenced to work with a reading tutor every Thursday until he left primary school. This started his theory that reading was stupid and whoever came up with the English language was the devil (well, maybe not the devil, but definitely one of his Foreign Diplomats). It wasn’t until he was handed a copy of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief that he understood why people bothered with the whole reading malarkey. Ever since, he’s been an avid reader. Oscar loves a good story, whether it’s in books, movies, games, or comics.
Oscar has a BA in Creative Writing and Philosophy, as well as a Masters in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa. Since graduation, his goal is now to convince young people that overcoming the struggle reading is worth the effort.
Since starting his MA, Oscar has taken the time to write every day. He does this because he believes the best way to improve is through putting in the hours. So know that in-between the time Oscar wrote this and you read it, he’s become an even better writer.
Falling Up by Oscar Beauchamp
My first thought when writing Falling Up was that, in addition to the magical elements of the story, I wanted to make the investigative process fun and easy to understand. I hoped this would create a protagonist who was very relatable and not just a genius detective. This way, even if what the protagonist was trying to do was extraordinary, it would be clear to the reader that he still saw the world like everyone else.
A big focus for me in this story was creating complex, rounded characters, avoiding any who were wholly good or evil. Through the protagonist’s pursuit of justice, I wanted to demonstrate that everyone has a reason for their actions, even if those actions deserve punishment. Hopefully this makes the characters more engaging and adds more conflict in the choices the protagonist has to make.
What was your inspiration for this story?
When I was young, I used to tune out as soon as anyone suggested reading a mystery story. For me, mysteries meant very little action and a lot of boring, detailed explanations. However, I would always perk up at the mention of magic. Magic promises exciting weirdness and characters having to quickly adapt. I started experimenting to see if the two genres could work together. During my research, I became aware that modern technological surveillance changed the way mysteries are solved. Therefore, I decided to base the story in a different time. I settled on London during the second world war, as it is a period I have studied and found interesting as the living situations for people were so different from modern life. These differences offered the perfect setting for my story.
What was your most memorable moment on the MA?
It was the first workshop I had with other students from the MA. Previously, I have found that people aren’t always honest with feedback and avoid giving criticism as they are afraid that it might upset the writer. However, everyone on the course was capable of discussing feedback with a level of professionalism that made it easier to express concerns and discuss ways to improve. This process was, and remains, highly important to me.
What is the most important thing you learned on the MA?
Every piece of feedback you receive is worth analysing. Even if you don’t agree with the comments, it is still valuable to consider why the reader had that reaction. It is always useful to know how people interpret your work and how and why they respond emotionally.
What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
The first draft. It’s chaotic and always requires changing later, but I love to commit ideas to the page and figure out if things will go according to plan or if something else will work better.
What do you like doing when you’re not writing?
I enjoy overanalysing stories in books, comics, movies, television and video games. And if I’m not doing that, I’m normally scribbling down ideas that are bouncing around in my head.
What is your top piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Think of it like any other skill. It will improve if you work hard at it, so put in as much time as you can and constantly push yourself to be better than you were yesterday.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. As a child with a learning disability and a short attention span, I hated reading and had made plans to live without it. It took a book that I found both engaging and easy to read to convince me the struggle was worth it.
What place in fiction do you most want to visit?
I would love to spend a night in the tavern in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, a place where beings from all dimensions meet and share stories throughout the night. Though, knowing me, I’d probably never shut up, and no one else would get a word in edgeways.